January 2022 Newsletter

“There’s nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.” Carson McCullers

No unfinished business here at The Premises as we rang in the New Year, the younger staff swinging from our crystal chandeliers, dancing with Glo sticks and setting off minor explosives, the older ones sipping Horlicks and drifting off to the bongs of Big Ben on Radio 4. Before then we celebrated the year with a staff night out at the Panto (see above). It was our first full-blown crazy busy year since lockdown, with all rehearsal and recording studios booked way in advance, and our courses in full swing. So if you have a list of resolutions, break ‘em all, except two: 1) Finish that song and 2) Rehearse and record it here.

On February 11th, we’re thrilled to be hosting an intensive one-day Masterclass by bass player extraordinaire Yolanda Charles MBE. The full day session will be focussed on musical development for bassists and drummers. Yolanda, who has played for and/or toured with Robbie Williams, Paul Weller, Squeeze and Hans Zimmer amongst others, will help you develop a nuanced approach to style, influence, feel and groove. Not suitable for beginners, but aimed at drummers and bass players at intermediate level and above, who have some experience playing within a band or group setting. If you are in a band and want to come as a pair (bass and drums), that’d be even better! But move fast, as we go to press there are only five places left. Early Bird price of £75.  More information here.

Also filling up fast is our three-day course for Backing Vocalists on Feb 16/17/18. If you want to become a top-notch backing singer then you need to join Gospel star and MOBO winner Lurine Cato MBE, who has worked as a professional BV for all the top names in the business. Learn all you need to know about timing, harmonies, movement, professionalism and winning that audition. Aimed at good singers who want the inside track on how to get the BV gigs. £195 for all three sessions. Click here for more info.

And, for the very advanced planners amongst you, we are running Janette Mason’s popular Art of Arranging course again, which went down a storm last year. Janette will teach you how to arrange your song for a pro session band, and the final day will be a master recording of you, the band and your song and vocals in our state-of-the-art recording studio. We’d ask you to submit a recording (nothing fancy, Mp3 will do) prior to the course. There will be a vocal coach on hand too and Janette will accompany on piano. We got some dynamic recordings last time round. Check out Stephanie’s Unlovable to The Bone here. Early Bird price for the three days is £345. For more information.

Our October half term Voice Jam was a great success, with our young choir laying down soaring versions of Lean on Me and Stand Up under the expert tuition and enthusiastic guidance of voice coach Clive BrownHere’s a sample of what they recorded. And we’re doing it all AGAIN, so if you know anyone in secondary school who’d like to jam with other singers over the February half term (13th-16th Feb) and record some songs in our state-of-the-art recording studio, please contact: michele@premiseseducation.org
The course is FREE and open to those with a keen interest in singing. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Q7yJUuDHO0q2yDHSNrSOIIPFnyiLKqc1KjoRK93U8gc/edit?ts=63c01098


December was busy with visits from, amongst others…   

Dirty Rumour, Liberty Church, Grand Union Orchestra, Hannah Brine, Trinity Laban, Tommy LaFoy, Music For Youth, Slow Thai, Shiva Nova, Quaye, Ben Marc, Art Terry, Nokomis, Yazz Ahmed, Flower Of Love, Young Gun Silver Fox, Ezra Collective, Bryn Christopher, Joy Anonymous, Horrifix, Ash, Anoushka Shankar, Snowman and Snowdog Orchestra, Superfly, Sarah Tandy, James Ford, Omar, Caity Baiser, United Freedom Collective, Black Country New Road, China Moses, Miss Baby Sol, Nathan Ware, Robert Fleming, Tsunainia, Loyle Carner, Joss Stone, Moving Mirrors, Engines Orchestra, Self Esteem, Elephant Kind, Tom Burke and Daisy Loving

In the first of a new feature in the newsletter, we catch up with bands that have been working here and are doing stuff you should know about. We bring you a short on the road feature with Jealous Nostril, Johnny Borrell’s (of Razorlight) new outfit, who were out on the road late last year, touring intimate clubs to rapturous audiences. We managed to catch them in the tour van (not literally, we can’t run that fast) and hear about Johnny’s new venture, what he did in lockdown and some stuff about chalk and sanding window frames down. Rock and roll, eh?  Here’s a Link to their new video, and here’s a link to our exclusive interview.

Got a song in your head and run out of paper napkins and bits of paper to write it down on, or do you sing it on some not very good phone recorder thing? We feel your pain and here’s the solution: recently we’ve been testing out a new iPhone recording app called Tape It, invented by an old friend of the Premises, Thomas Walther, and the audio quality is vastly superior to Apple’s Voice Memos. The perfect tool for songwriters and musicians wanting to quickly record ideas and demos. Super easy to use and exporting recordings is a doddle. Great for recording interviews too. Get the app FREE here: https://tape.it/ or search for Tape It in the App Store.


December 2022 Newsletter

Unless the music is stopped now, the human race, mumbling, snapping its fingers, twitching its hips, will sink back into an amoebic state where it will take a coagulation of hundreds of teenagers to make up a s single unit of vital force, which once formed, will only live on sedatives.” Quentin Crisp

Wow, he said that like it was a BAD thing! While we appreciate the caustic wit of the well-coiffed and much beaten up writer and contrarian Quentin Crisp, your newsletter correspondent loves nothing more than being in a crazed, dancing crowd. And just how MANY great gigs there were during the EFG London Jazz Festival, where we got to see many of our Premises pals play to ecstatic crowds. More of which, this happy amoebic unit will report on, later.


Christmas, New Year, yadda yadda…. we’ve got a 2023 Year Planner and we’re gonna use it.  We can think of no better Christmas present to give a musically inclined loved one, or indeed, yourself, than a course in something they’re pretty good at and want to get even better at! Resolutions and all that.
First up on 11th Feb is an intensive one-day Masterclass by bass player extraordinaire Yolanda Charles MBE, whose course will be about musical development for bassists and drummers. Yolanda, who has played and/or toured with Robbie Williams, Paul Weller, Squeeze and Hans Zimmer amongst others, will help those who play or want to play rhythm professionally, to develop a nuanced approach to style, influence, feel and groove. This is NOT for beginners, but those who aspire to get on the gigging and session circuit, ideally, but mainly to improve musicianship. Early Bird price of £75.  If you play electric bass or drums at least at an intermediate level and want to play even better and get more gigs, contact details below.

Always fancied being a Pip, or Pip-esque, as in Gladys Knight and the… or have aspired to be a gigging, reliable and red-hot backing vocalist, which is a vital, backbone like part of any good stage act? You need to join our three-day Backing Vocalist crash course run by singing sensation, Gospel star and MOBO winner Lurine Cato, who has worked professionally as a BV for the likes of Kylie and Adele. Learn all about timing, harmonies, moving, professionalism and winning that audition. Not for beginners, but for good and great singers who want to get the know how to get the gigs. Dates are 16-18 Feb, with an Early Bird price of £195.

Finally, for the very advanced planners amongst you, we are running Janette Mason’s popular Art of Arranging course, which went down a storm earlier this year, on the 25th of March and 1st and 2nd of April. Janette will teach you how to arrange your song for a band, and the final day will be a professional recording of you, the band and your song  and vocals in our solar-powered recording studio. There will be a vocal coach on hand and Janette will accompany on piano. We got some dynamic recordings last time round. Check out Stephanie’s Unlovable to The Bone on Premises Radio. Early Bird price for the three days is £340.
For more information or booking for ANY of these courses, email: michele@premiseseducation.org

If you did not go to one of these many gigs all over London, mainly starring Premises regulars, we want to know, if not, why not? And demand a note from your parents.

Gig land in London has been such a blast the last couple of months, and if you didn’t attend at least one of ‘em, you need a mighty good excuse. At the Barbican we had Carroll Thompson, Ian Shaw, Abdullah Ibrahim, Lady Blackbird and Nubian Twist.

We particularly enjoyed the double Joni Mitchell Hejira and Mingus tribute at South Bank, featuring conductor Peter Edwards and vocalist Eska, with the Nu Civilisation Orchestra. Tears were shed and hearts were exploded, in a good way.

Finally, one of the workingest guys on the contemporary jazz scene, Shabaka Hutchings, who has launched his own label, Native Rebel Records, had a showcase gig at EARTH in Hackney.  We’ve heard very exciting and innovative sounds from label stars The Brother Moves On, Kofi Flexx (with ace drummer Jas Kayser), Chelsea Carmichael and Confucius MC and Kwake Bass. You can hear bits of all via: nativerebelrecordings.co.uk

Big adventures in store for BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year, 20-year-old double bassist Ewan Hastie. Ewan and other nominees all got to play with Nikki Yeoh (image below), who leads our piano courses, and her band Infinitum, which consists of Michael Mondesir on bass and Mark Mondesir on drums. Those who recorded at our 2022 Piano Week were very lucky to have Mark playing with them. More info on our Live Piano comping course coming up next newsletter.

Nominees just announced for BBC Radio 1’s Sound of 2023 include, of course, a bunch of Premises clients. We’d like to take all the credit, but we can’t. However, big props to R&B group Flo, drum and bass duo Piri and Tommy, Afrobeats contender Asake, punky popster Dylan, indie songwriter Rachel Chinouriri, and alt pop musician Biig Piig

Amongst many others during November…. Ezra Collective, Bigg Pigg, Tomorrow’s Warriors, Tom Burke, Fontaines DC, Liberty Church, Lava La Rue, Mauvey, Fossils, Gretel Hanlyn, Tim Burgess, Tony Kofi, Omar, Nubya Garcia, Binker Golding, Black Country New Road, Perhaps Contraption, Laura Mvula, House Gospel Choir, John Oates, Daniel Casimir, The Staves, Maverick Sabre, All Stars Collective, Asian Dub Foundation, Ash, Izzy Bizu,  Jorja Smith, Shabaka Hutchings. Kofi Flexx, Deaf School, Mansur Brown, Kid Apollo, Jean Toussaint, Roella Oloro, Perusi Kakaire, Sarkodie, Anoushka Shankar, Abby Roberts, Skylar, Kevin Rowland, Becky Hill, Jarvis Cocker, Trans Voices and Dalia Mubarak.

1. Don’t Look Back into The Sun: The Libertines
2. Paradise: Sun Ra Arkestra
3. Tate Song: Jean Toussaint
4. Space: Becky Hill
5. Hold: Nubya Garcia

Please make a note that we’ll be closing at 16:00 on the 23rd of December, and reopening on the 2nd Jan 2023, so the usual amount of break for you lot, although we’ll still be busy here behind the scenes once we’ve eaten our weight in mince pies and screamed, “He’s behind you,” at the pantos we’re heading to.


November Newsletter

“I’ll never make it. It will never happen because they’re never going to hear me ‘cause they’re screaming all the time.”Elvis Presley

Your newsletter correspondent knows the feeling. People do scream when she sings, but perhaps not for quite the same reasons as those who screamed and fainted for The King. There’s a reason those of us behind the scenes in the music business, are behind the scenes.

Say what you like about The Premises (and we hope you will say that you like us very much) but rather a lot of the nominees have graced us with their presence, dear. Every year, we’re always excited to see at least half of our clients in the shortlist and this year was no exception: Self Esteem, Sam Fender, Joy Crookes, Yard Act, Kojey Radical and of course, the glorious Wet Leg. But we did let out a particularly big yelp of delight when our gal Little Simz scooped the big prize, and she was a model of grace, gratitude and humbleness. Check out her distinct and smooth flow, not to mention innovative hair architecture, on the brilliant ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’. Huge congrats to all!

We had a lively, lovely bunch of young singers in to work with vocal coach extraordinaire Clive Brown over the half term. Some were from Hackney schools, one from the Brit School and one determined youngster travelling all the way in from Essex. It was pleasure and a privilege to watch the singers go from shy and reticent and singing quite low in the first few hours, to hitting their stride with three-part harmonies, rapping and all sorts of playful nuances by the end of the first day. They worked on Lean on Me, and Stand Up.  Clive brings out the showbiz confidence, clarity, diction and good manners (these things count) in everyone.  The transformation within the group over the week, was palpable, and the energy in the recording session, pure magic. Watch this space for news of future Voice Jams in coming half terms.

A mega line-up last month, including (deep breath)… Alexander Joseph, Biig Piig, Cian Downing, Beck Hill, Boy Bleach, Maya Delilah, Beth Orton, Loyle Carner, House Gospel Choir, Dan D’Lion, Steve Weston, Omar Puente, Nicky Rubin, Anoushka Shankar (below), Trigger Fish, Robert Mitchell, The Weilthings, Brass Funkeys, Kyla La Grange, Liberty Church, Trinity Laban, Syleena Johnsson, Paddy Murphy, Metamorphics, Miriam Jackson, Midtown Funk, Murkage Dave, Glory Boy, Oxlade, Nicky Rubin, Duke St Big Band, Donna Thompson, The Squires, Malika, Tellison, Eliane Correa, Mark Almond, Tenacity, Jealous Nostril, Celeste, Rachel Chinouriri, Glory Choir, Nick Woodmansey, Nadine Khouri, Eliza Doolittle, Rio Hellyer, Black Country New Road, Ashton Jones, Joshua Jaswon, Ewan Mainwood, Tomorrow’s Warriors, Jay Wilcox, Bby Ivy, Zara McFarlane, Dylan, Clive Brown, Moonshine Heavies, Attawalpa, Adrian Sykes, Adam Rowley, Future Sounds, Carina Tamer, Elliot Doyle, Creative Artists Network, Led Bib, Aura, Izzy Bizu, Prep, Iraina, The Mekons, Black Midi, Asha Parkinson, Lava La Rue, Lucy McWilliams, Jaz Karis, Joe Stilgoe and Girls of The Internet.

The Beeb has been putting quite a bit of comedy our way recently, the latest being a late-night radio 4 programme written by comedian Kat Sadler, whose show Kat Sadler’s Screen Time goes out on the 17th and 24th of November on Radio 4 at 11pm. The clue as to what the show is about is in the title, which speaks volumes for how young people today live their lives through social media and their phones in particular. Kat finds a girlfriend on her phone, a seemingly perfect relationship, but the course of social media love does not run smoothly. Sounds like a hoot, and a very topical one at that.


It’s a truth universally acknowledged that those who rehearse/teach/record at The Premises who are not already superstars, will have superstardom thrust upon them, at least to our ears and often to the wider world.
Our Piano Week regular tutor, the mega-talented Robert Mitchell has a double LP out with his band True Think, an innovative project entitled: Hold The Light- The New Resistance. To find out more: https://robertmitchell.bandcamp.com/
Long time jazz, funk and soul maestros Cymande are having their debut album re-released by Partisan in rather fabulous Orange Crush vinyl. Plus, they are the stars of the award winning documentary “Getting It Back”. More Cymande info here: http://cymandeofficial.com
Celebrating 40 years of making wild, wonderful, fusion music taking in too many global traditions to mention, the mighty Grand Union Orchestra will be playing Shoreditch Town Hall on 3rd and 4th  December at Shoreditch Town Hall, just a hop, skip and jump from The Premises. For more info: www.grandunion.org.uk 
Young jazz wizard composer and multi instrumentalist Roella Oloro is over from her final year studies at Berklee for the London Jazz Festival this month, with dates at The Living Room, Pizza Express, Ronnie Scott’s (already SOLD OUT) and The Royal Albert Hall. For more details: https://www.instagram.com/roellaoloromusic/?hl=en

We are currently VERY heavily booked. So please.. if your rehearsal dates are important, get them in the book well in advance. CALL 0207 729 7593. We’re always here, from early to late, 7 days a week. We hate having to turn any of our regulars away.

October 2022 Newsletter

“Ava was there in the morning, now she’s gone

She’s reborn like Sarah Vaughan”

(October Song by Amy Winehouse)

We thought a song about Amy’s dead canary would, um, put things in perspective, in the sense of the necessity of things having to die, to come alive again in Spring. Or something. We just needed a song about October to kick off this newsletter. Here we go:


It’s been a few years since we’ve been able to get this popular programme off the ground again, but we are up and running with our VOICE JAMS half term course for wannabe young singers. So if you know or live with a youngster who might be interested, here’s the deal… five days run by dynamic vocal coach Clive Brown, and anybody within that age group with a song in their hearts and a desire to perform and record is welcome to join us, FREE OF CHARGE, all over half-term (24th-28th Oct). With late starts, half days and great music that you’ll record on the final day with a band, what’s not to love about this half term activity? To read more about the programme and sign up head here.

Our sold-out 24th Annual Piano Week was a great success, with Nikki Yeoh, Tim Richards, John Crawford and Robert Mitchell taking our eager, hard-working and dedicated piano players to a level of excellence we have seen and heard in previous years. We’ve pumped more money and keyboards into this course, so everybody got in loads of practice before the recording day. The fact that we have a core group of regulars who return year after year is testament to the popularity of the course. The recording went brilliantly and everyone was blown away by the results. Watch this space for our next Piano Course, which will focus on live performance.

A couple of months ago we ran a competition to win a free video filming session with our videographer partner Sheridan Seraphin, with a view to expanding our services to include a video package for bands rehearsing or recording here. The winner was Gabriel Lord-Baptiste, (now going by the name of Leigh) whose haunting, and at times downright brooding track I Am My Enemy lent itself perfectly to Seraphin’s stark, minimalist lighting and shots. It was a four-hour, three camera shoot to a pre-recorded track and it was great to see Lord-Baptiste prowling the stage in Studio one like a young man with a message, a mission and a mighty presence. To see the video head here (pw: Gabriel1). And if you’re looking for a high quality, low-cost video, email: michele@premiseseducation.org


Last month we were lucky enough to hear Matt Maltese rehearsing for a major European and American tour and some UK dates. If you hear the same song 30 plus times a day and still love it more than anything else, it’s gotta be a winner. When he came out of the studio I pinned him to the floor and screamed, ‘What’s that song and why is it so good and why has no one ever told me about you?’ The song is new and he can’t say too much about it, except it’s called Irony Would Have It and it’s a thing of beauty. You might know him from the TikTok versions of his massive hit When The World Caves In. He’s also working on a song with a pretty unique premise: having to comfort his mum when he broke up with his girlfriend, cos she really loved her. We feel her pain.

The BBC have been in a lot recently, recording Sketched Out, a new, fast paced radio comedy show, written and hosted by Gemma Arrowsmith, who tries to wrestle back presenting her own show from guests more famous than she is. Next episode features the luscious abfab Joanna Lumley (or as she reminded us, ‘Dame, and don’t you forget it, sweeties!’). Viv needed a lie down afterwards.

Ezra Collective, Sophie May, Mykki Blano, Asian Dub Foundation, The Untested, Tomorrow’s Warriors, Boy Bleach, Olivia Dean, Omar Puente, Perhaps Contraption, Lava La Rue, Liberty Church, Celeste, My Fair Lady, Clive Brown, Gabriel Baptiste, Beatenburg, Poppy Ackroyd, Ash, Irene Taylor Trust, Hot Chip, Kym Mazelle, Alex Williams, Lazy Williams, Lazy Habits, Puppini Sisters, Liberty Church, Fossils, Business as Usual, Dave Okumu, Donna Thompson, Anna Calvi, Kokoroko, Jocelyn Brown, Aine Deane, Matt Maltese, Polly Gibbons, Afrobeats Orchestra,  NHS Band, Beth Orton, L.Devine, Nubian Twist, Jean Toussaint, Lava La Rue, Seraphina Simone, Sorry, The Life and Death, Biig Piig, Yazmin Lacy, Jealous Nostril, Flourish, Dolores Forever and Bree Runway.

Those of you who get your basic food and music groups from our caff may want to note the extended opening hours, when it morphs from a caff to a Bistro, suitable for later rehearsals but also just good people who like good food, or even bad people who like good food. We’re not judging. Open til ten Monday to Saturday, the Premises Bistro features great filling plates with some lighter options. The Mezze selection is to live for (because, what does to die for even MEAN?) and the soundtrack is exclusively from our studio customers, so you may well hear yourself and have to pretend to be all like …casual. See you in there!

If you’re dining in our Bistro or having a natter with bandmates in reception, do prick up your ears and have a listen to our in-house radio station. Every month we chose five great tracks, in no particular order, except fat wads of cash in plain envelopes might just…no, never mind. You play it. We dig it.

1) Brenda Russell: Piano In The Dark
2) The Comet is Coming: Summon The Fire
3) Ezra Collective: The Philosopher
4) Kokoroko: Baba Ayoola
5) Jazz Jamaica: So What

Prices are going up everywhere it seems, but not at The Premises. In response to the huge jump in our energy bills, we’ve added five more studios on to our solar power system, so unless the world goes dark, no increase in our hire rates and we’ll hold it like that for as long as we possibly can.

Christo, who works here, has a secret life as a curator of subatomic particles. (we don’t ask, he doesn’t tell, because we might not understand) BUT, he’s made a glorious installation called Particle Shrine, with five cosmic ray detectors, vibrating surfaces, projections, light design, music, and live readings from a neutrino observatory in Japan. It’s a good way to experience a sense of connection to the Cosmos, and does not involve Class A’s. We’re dead chuffed that our resident Renaissance man has made this spectacular experience. It’s at Science Gallery London and you can attend the installation until Jan 2023, or a free concert on 21st October at your subatomic leisure.


September 2022 Newsletter

“Someone just got me a shower radio. I guess there’s no better place to dance than a slick surface next to a glass door.” Jerry Seinfeld

As a lifelong bathtub and shower singer, I can relate to some extent, but it’s been pointed out to me that my not so mellifluous tones can shatter glass at 40 paces, so these days I confine my watery warbling to some song you’re meant to sing two verses of while you wash your hands to de-germ them.  Now Happy Birthday is standard but boring, as is the ABC alphabet song, though I tend to forget the lyrics after H or so…of course, there’s been a survey about this sorta thing. What’s your go-to hand washing song, now the season of lurgies is just around the corner? Best answer wins a bar environmentally friendly soap.

Our energy costs last year were over £36k so we’re looking at ways to survive the coming winter whilst also making The Premises an even Greener place to create music. There’s our pioneering solar powered recording Studio A of course and now we’re looking to invest in a second PV system to power the rest of the building.
What can musicians do? Maybe take a look at the Music Declares Emergency and Julie’s Bicycle websites, which are chock full of ideas to make your musical enterprise more ecologically sustainable.


Delighted to hear that Premises’ regular Roella Oloro, with her jazz collective The Diasporan Queens picked up two prizes from the Seven Virtual Jazz Competition – including Roella’s arrangement of Patrice Rushen’s L’espirit  De Joie, and the Innovation Prize, which will culminate in a performance at the Milan Jazz Club Ferrera. Her year at Berklee has been jam packed, doing a full complement of courses, all night recording sessions, playing in her own bands and others as well as running and rehearsing her own 17-piece big band. Now Roella is seeking funds to complete her Senior Year at Berklee, to which she has a full scholarship but this doesn’t include room, board and medical expenses. We know it’s been a tough year financially for many of you, but if you can, please chip in to Roella’s final year fund.


Last month we ran a competition to have one of your songs set to film in Studio One. The response was overwhelming and the quality of submissions, very high indeed. We know everyone says that but we really mean it. It was very difficult to choose the artist and song but we do have a winner, a relative newcomer, 18-year-old Gabriel Lord-Baptiste. His song I Am The Enemy fizzes with rapid fire lyrics expressing the struggles and big questions young people face, post Pandemic.
Gabriel is a singer, songwriter, rapper, musician and producer from North London.
He’s a member of Tomorrow’s Warriors and has recorded with Laura White, Vula, Mista Jam, and Cherise, as well as playing with Jazz Jamaica at the Jazz Café. “I love discovering different styles and genres of music from 80s synth to neo-soul to new hip hop beats,” he says. “During lockdown, I focused on producing my own material on Logic and have just finished producing my first EP, which will be released later this year.”
Film-maker Sheridan Serafin is going to shoot the video in Studio 1 here soon and we’ll bring you the result in the next newsletter.


Among many others last month, we welcomed… Jocelyn Brown, Sona Blue, Death Valley Yacht Club, Jon Hopkins, Finn Lomax, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Spencer Kelly, Fi McCluskey, Jazz Jamaica, Boy Bleach, Liberty Church, Tomorrow’s Warriors, Pain and Bad News, Tom Platts, Laura Mvula, Biig Piig, Jake Shears, Emeli Sande, Vula, Elephant Kind, Albion, Trigger Fish, Maverick Sabre, Dan D’Lion, The Staves, Scritti Politti, Manifest, Say She She, Celeste, Seaforth, Self-Esteem, Jarvis Cocker, Metamoprhic, Subjective ft Goldie, and Cleveland Watkiss, the Handsome Family, Joyce Sims, Ezra Collective as well as old friends Cymande (above, with Neville Malcolm 4th from right, back on the mend after his recent bad accident.) And last but not least, Joanna Lumley recording in Studio A (“Dame… and don’t you forget it, sweeties!”)

If you’ve not yet tuned into Premises Radio why the heck is that? If you’re reading this, you’re probably on it, plus you’ll be in some esteemed and eclectic company. We know bands don’t like being categorised by genre, and we think our playlists reflect that weird and wonderful mix that you might overhear when you stroll down our hallowed corridors of aural delights. Just like a REAL radio station on actual radio, or Wireless for those of you who speak in an affected manner, we have our Top Five Tracks of the Month. All as good as each other, so no ascending or descending order. Here they are:

  1. Cleveland Watkiss. Red Gold and Green
  2. Fontaines DC. Jackie Down The Line
  3. Hannah V ft Shystie and Pepper Rose. No Limits
  4. TIEKS. Sunshine
  5. Tony Kofi. Ruby my Dear


August Newsletter

“To be honest, my music taste is so hard to describe, like it’s literally everything except for the songs I don’t like” – (unattributed, but we’re thinking American Teenager on a first, and possibly last date)

Don’t you love it when someone seemingly inarticulate manages to convey, with casual stupidity, a truth universally acknowledged? Here at the Premises though, hell is NEVER other people’s music.

Meanwhile, we’ve been sobbing along gently to the viral footage of Joni Mitchell’s performance at the Newport Folk Festival, pausing only to wonder about stuff like, if you cut an earworm in half, will you get two entirely different live earworms. Well that plus, actual work. More of which… here:

Yep, you read that right. Are you insanely talented, and also improbably good looking? Or quite talented and passably photogenic? Or do you just belong to a good band, or perform solo, and have an ace track you need a video for? We can help, for free and all copyrights will be yours! Just send us your track (mp3 or a link) and our videographer Sheridan will pick one to shoot as a video in Studio 1. It’ll be a four-hour session using 4k cameras and full stage lighting, so if you get the call be ready to come in for half a day to create something special. Closing date for entries: Aug 15th. Send your track and contact deets to: michele@premiseseducation.org

Amongst many others in July… Maverick Sabre, Leonard Ng, Yazz Ahmed, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Bedlam, Yusef Days, Pip Millett, Marc Almond, Arlo Parks, Albion, Skinless Lizards, Perhaps Contraption, Stand Tall, Laura Mvula, Beth Orton, Nick Allum, Emeli Sande, Jean Toussaint, Chinouriri, The Staves, Shaun Escoffery, Dora Jar, Engines Orchestra, Jade Bird, Liberty Church, Billy Ocean, Juno James, Amy Michelle, Yumi Zuma, Daniel Casimer, Tanita Tikaram, Michael Olatuja, Osibisa, ICC Singers, Yazmin Lacety, Irene Serra, Clive Brown, Tellison, Pip Millett, Black Country New Road, Esprit D’Air, Sam Tompkins, Chevelle Franklyn, Sundora Karma, Dexy’s Midnight Runners plus soul royalty in the form of Brenda Russell, Regina Belle and Angela Winbush! Recording in Studio A last month were Mansur Brown, Jay Wilcox, Precipice, Nicola Schofield and Brass Monkeys.

We’ve still got spaces left for our FREE drama workshop for 14-18-year olds. This will be a two-day taster session in writing and performing, led by writer, teacher and dramatist Lisa Ogun. If you know any youngsters who might be interested here are three cool things about it:
1. It runs in the summer holidays over the weekend, 20th and 21st Aug at the teen-friendly times of 12pm-5pm, so no horrendously early starts.
2.Young people can have a go at writing for stage, acting and learning about all the different people and skill sets it takes to put on a show in an informal, fun and interactive setting. All the world’s a stage, said the Bard (on TikTok, wasn’t it?)
3. It’s also about the hang. Meet and workshop with people who are into the same stuff as you. In a pro studio, with air con! To sign up, email: michele@premiseseducation.org

We’re hooking up with our friends at Help Musicians, an organization which does what it says, in the form of rolling grants, supporting musicians who have performance-related injuries or are out of work due to long term illness, bereavement, or are in retirement. They also run a 24/7 mental health support line called Music Minds Matter, which connects callers with a trained counsellor. This latter service is for anyone in the music business. AND, they run a much-needed service to help protect musicians’ hearing, with a full audiological assessment and customised ear plugs for a nominal fee, less still for MU members. For more info…

So, they give you money, if you really need it AND you can tell them what’s eating you. We LIKE these people. If it sounds a little familiar to you, that’s because they used to be the Musician’s Benevolent Fund, which has been running in some form or other for 101 years.
Here’s the money stuff. Grant applications run 365 days a year, so no deadlines or rounds. The only requirement is that you make over 50% of your living from your music.

Best way to get an overview of all of the above is to go to one of their online Get Set sessions, which takes you through the different grants available and how to make the strongest application. Upcoming session can be found here.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will take note of the nifty craftsmanship going on behind the scenes here. We’ve got a swanky new dance floor in Studio 2, stage lighting in Studio 1 and we’ve invested in a new Grand Piano and six keyboards. There’s a new state-of-the-art Apple Mac in Studio A and we’ve also replaced our rolling video in reception with ‘Life In A Day at The Premises’ featuring some of the fine musicians who’ve worked here. Including you maybe? So it’s been spend, spend, spend in these parts but… no price rises, we’re better than Truss or Rishi at the defying inflation business.

We are delighted but in no way surprised that our 24th Annual Piano Week, running here from the 31st August to 4th September, is now sold out. The course, as last year, is run by Nikki Yeoh with Tim Richards, Robert Mitchell and John Crawford and involves intense tuition in improvisation, rhythm, harmony and modal jazz. All this, PLUS your own trio recording session in Studio A with Winston Clifford (drums) and Dominic Howles (bass) on the final day. But fear not if you missed out on this one, you can still pop your name on the waiting list, and if anyone drops out, we’ll be straight on to your good, piano-playing self. To get on the list, email: michele@premiseseducation.org

Despite a big rise in costs, we’ve decided on a price freeze here for at least the rest of this year. As a member you can still hire a studio for less than £5 an hour (personal practice, same-day) – best value anywhere in town (or country).


July 2022 Newsletter

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”
Albert Schweitzer

We at the coalface of the Premises couldn’t agree more so, while getting on with helping bands and artists make lots of glorious noises here, we also have a one-cat-out, one-slightly-used-cat-in policy. Of course we miss Doris, who’s loving her new retired life, sipping cocktails by the pool and being served Dreamies on a silver platter, but new boy Ezra is exploring these hallowed corridors of jazz, pop, funk, gospel, blues, rock, rap, bagpipes and opera (here he is, checking out Kendrick Lamar’s Glasto set). So next time you’re in, introduce yourself to the new kit on the block. Takes food bribes.

As we are right bang smack in the middle of festival season, it’s a glorious thing to see artists who’ve been forced off the road for several years, back in their element, most recently Glastonbury, where Premises regulars took to the many stages in full splendour. Big thumbs up to Little Simz, Celeste, Bonobo, Nubian Twist, Fontaines DC, Lianne Le Havas, Metronomy, Skunk Anansie, Years and Years, Arlo Parks, Wet Leg, Sam Fender, Primal Scream, First Aid Kit, The Libertines, Nubya Garcia, Jamie T, Phoebe Bridges, Jamie T, Self Esteem, Tanita Tikaram, Billy Bragg, PP Arnold, The Magic Numbers and Yola.Hear ALL of these artists on our internet radio station Premises Radio.

Speaking of PP Arnold, who is hands down one of the most gracious women in music, she has her wild ride of an autobiography out this month. It’s called Soul Survivor (Nine Eight Books) and is on sale at all good bookshops or here.

There are just five places left on our 24th Annual Summer Piano Week, this year running from 31st August to 4 September, with course leader Nikki Yeoh and tutors Tim Richards, John Crawford and Robert Mitchell putting you through your paces in improvisation, harmony, rhythm, modal jazz and finishing with a professional studio recording.  Covering jazz, blues, funk and Latin styles, this course is suitable for those with some experience in playing, who want to work hard and play hard during this five day intensive course. £395 all inclusive. For more info head here, or email  michele@premiseseducation.org

If you have (or know) youngsters aged 14 to 18 who’d rather be more Bard than Bored this summer, they can exercise their writing and dramatic skills here in a two-day, FREE workshop on writing for stage and performing. The workshop runs on the 20th and 21st of August at the very teen-friendly hours of 12 to 5pm each day. Details below…

As always, a busy month with loads of bands rehearsing for tours, gigs or releases. We’ve been lucky to host and hear the likes of Asha Parkinson, Soul II Soul, Incognito, Levi Roots (below), Beth Orton, The Levitation Orchestra, The Wonder Years, Nu Civilisation Orchestra, Yellow Days, STR4TA (a Gilles Peterson project), Kendall Smith, Abby Roberts, Goldfrapp, Soweto Kinch,  Loyle Corner, Tom Platt, Tim Burgess, Self-Esteem, Lianne La Havas,  Lava La Rue, Laura Mvula, Jake Shears, Emie Nathan ,Yumi Zouma, Yellow Days, Dylan Fraser, Afrobeats Orchestra, Tanita Tikaram and The Liberty Church.

Just to let you know we’ve had a refurb of Studio One (the big one, ground floor) with new stage/film lighting and 4K camera facilities to enable low-cost high-spec video shoots. Cinematographer Sheridan Seraphin is putting some juicy package deals together so watch this space!

If the cost of living going UP is getting you DOWN, rest assured Premises Studios are bucking the trend. So we guarantee NO increase in our hire rates for at least the whole of this year (and next, if poss). We realise musicians have taken a big hit from Covid and by not being able to get out on the road for the better part of two years, so we’ll continue to provide top quality rooms and equipment at best possible prices. Rates and info are all on the website. Call 0207 729 7593 to book – we ALWAYS answer in person!

June 2022 Newsletter

She’s simply awesome, oooh

She dashed by me in painted-on jeans

All heads turned cos she was the dream

In the blink of an eye, I knew her number and name

Billy Ocean

Welcome to June, and though we have mainly made The Premises a Platty Joobs free zone (that’s Platinum Jubilee in posh English slang) we can’t help but boast that we had the King-like Billy Ocean in, preparing for his world tour, as befits the workingest guy in the biz, who also clearly flirts with Royalty, based on his Caribbean Queen lyrics as above.  Now that we’ve got an image of Her Maj frolicking in spray-on jeans in front of the awesome Mr. Ocean, we can’t un-see it. So take down yer bunting and read on to see what we’ve been up to in the heady world of music on Hackney Road


Last month on possibly the sunniest day of the year, Studio One became a jazzy nightclub for the climax of our sold-out piano performance course with each student joining Denys Baptise on sax, Dominic Howles on bass and Winston Clifford on drums. Tutors Nikki Yeoh, Robert Mitchell and Tim Richards had coached the players (ranging from ages 18 to, er, older than that) to play like old hands who’d been in jazz quartets forever. The best bit was a sort of piano relay race for the final number, with each student coming up to play 30 seconds with the band. It was dazzling and the most fun. We’re definitely gonna run this course again, so register your interest and get advance notice of dates: michele@premiseseducation.org


And for all you keen pianists who could not make the live performance course, never fear, as we are just few months off our annual summer Piano Week, also led by Nikki Yeoh. This course focuses on recorded performance, with five days intensive tuition leading up to a fabulous studio recording with Winston and Dominic (see above). This is our 24th year of running this course and places go quick, so get in now! Dates are 31st August to 4th September. Early Bird price of £395 (including master recording). To register, email: michele@premiseseducation.org


Heads up for a course NOT being run here but by one of our studio regulars, Steve Marshall. This will be led by the performance company State of Emergency, and will be a five-day immersive course for musicians and dancers from 3-8th July at Dartington Estate, Totnes, in beautiful Devon. Some FULL bursaries are available. Contact: admin@stateoftrust.net for more details.

We were happy to partner with The-Latest in the recording of a landmark BBC Radio 4 drama-doc, ‘The Amazing Life of Olaudah Equiano’ (c1745-97) the freed African slave who became a key figure in the abolitionist movement. Listen here (and see if you can spot a cameo of our CEO Viv Broughton playing a baddie!)

CATS – THE MUSICAL (sort of)
Thought you’d like to know that our much-adored former studio cat, Doris, has retired to sunny Clapton on Sea (well, there’s a view of the River Lea) with the lovely Iona in her spacious, Zen flat. Doris is spending her days happily dining on the finest food, being lazy, doing crosswords and watching keep fit videos while mainlining Dreamies. Alright for some.

Meanwhile our new studio cat, well, when I say new, I mean slightly used by one careful owner, is the very handsome shy boy, Ezra. He mainly hangs out in the office as he adjusts to his alarmingly-new wild rock and roll lifestyle, but if you’d like to meet him, do pop up and say hello as he does best on a one to one basis. Bribery helps.

In the last month we had the aforementioned Billy Ocean, FKA Twigs, Dora Jar, Jarvis Cocker, Ezra Collective, L Devine, Angel Olsen, Kamali, Cobey Sey and the London Contemporary Orchestra, Boy Bleach, Knucks, Daisy Brain, Anna Calvi, Nayana Iz, Attawalpa, Scritti Politti, Marc Almond, The Waeve, Abby Roberts, Keziah Jones, Carcass, Rachel Chinouriri, Miles Kane, Ava Wave, Mo Pleasure, Jordan Mackampa, Sad Night Dynamite, Green Tea Peng, Black Country New Road, Kate Nash, Nemhesis X, Emeli Sande, Grand Union Orchestra, Kathy (Sister) Sledge, Amaarae, Patti Smith (see below!) with Seb Rochford, Curved Air, Yolanda Charles and all the 16 PMEP piano players!

One of our esteemed piano tutors Tim Richards has made a series of podcasts called Jazz Piano Library. Each one features a famous jazz or blues pianist, with a special guest joining the discussion each time. He’s covered Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Red Garland, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Bud Powell, Herbie Hancock, James Booker, Keith Jarrett, Professor Longhair and Dr. John. In the near future he’ll have Nikki Yeoh as guest and they’ll be talking about and playing the music of Chick Corea. Listen here.


Indefatigable Premises regular Cath March – musician, writer, puppeteer, educator and all round good egg, brought 30 children from Holmleigh School’s Year 5 in to record their “Out of the Blues” material with Kate Shortt directing and accompanying on piano, Loz Speyer on trumpet and percussion support, with puppeteer Ronnie Le Drew operating Little Nap, one of the earliest marionettes made by John and Lyndie Wright of the Little Angel. The session, partially observed by your correspondent, was a consummate exercise in multi-tasking. It was recorded by Gary Stewart, and will be featured on the Invisible Needs website shortly, once Cleveland Watkiss has mixed in some magic in Studio A.

Premises regulars jazz quartet ISQ celebrate ten years since their first LP release with a date at Soho Pizza Express this Weds 8th June. Expect a silky, slinky and summery sound from the honey voiced Irene Serra and songs from all four of their albums. Book here.

And finally… despite increased overhead costs, we guarantee there will be NO PRICE RISES THIS YEAR AT THE PREMISES. See you again soon!